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Kenji Johjima picks the Hanshin Tigers

by on Oct.27, 2009 @ 4:18 pm, under NPB

Kenji Johjima has signed on with the Hanshin Tigers.

Seiichi Hoshino was at the meeting.

No word on contract details as of yet.

Sanspo: 城島、阪神入り決定!5年ぶり日本球界復帰

Sports Hochi: 「阪神・城島」誕生!」

Nikkan Sports: 星野SDも出馬、城島の阪神入りが決定

Daily Sports: 城島「阪神にお世話になると決めた」

Mainichi Shimbun: 城島捕手:阪神入団を表明 「一番最初、誠意感じた」

=== UPDATE 10/27/2009 10:11pm JST

Q&A posted by Sanspo:

Why Hanshin?

They raised their hands up first the minute I said I would be leaving the Mariners.  I really felt like the entire team really wanted me.

On your old team, the Hawks...

They've really done a lot for me so I had a hard time deciding.  I called my mentor Oh-san last night to let him know my decision.  I hear the Hawks have some internal problems and they're still going through some changes on the team level as well...

Hoshino was at the meetings today...

He said something really great to me.  Hoshino said, "we really need your energy."

Your impression of Hanshin...

When I was over there (the States) I kept my eye on the Hawks.  To be honest, I didn't really know enough about Hanshin to have an opinion.  I do know that the passionate fans that used to be rooting against me will now be rooting for me.

On the team counting on you to not only be their catcher, but also bat in the middle of their lineup...

Expectations are what other people have of you.  No matter where in the order I bat, I won't change my batting style.  And that's to try and hit the ball as hard as I can during every at bat.

Anything for Akinobu Mayumi (manager)...

I want to ask him why his nickname is "Joe."  I have the same nickname so I'll have to change mine.

=== UPDATE 10/27/2009 10:42pm JST

Johjima on the Hawks...

I met Oh and I was really moved.  Lot's asked that I return, but I only have one body.  My feelings for Fukuoka will never change.

Kenjiro Nomura (Carp manager) on Johjima...

I think he's a fierce competitor because he's a great catcher and he knows how to lead.  But I can't really worry about him, I need to worry about this B class team.  I want to try not to lose.

Takanori Takeuchi (Softbank COO) on losing Johjima...

I regret the fact that we couldn't move quickly enough.  And it caused a lot of ripples within the team.  He met with Oh-san on Saturday so I thought we'd have a little more time.

Sadaharu Oh (Softbank chairman) on losing Johjima...

It's really too bad because I wanted him to return and see him win a championship with this team.  But it was his decision.  I still believe he can help bring even more appeal the the pro baseball community in Japan.

Akinobu Mayumi (Tigers manager) on Johjima...

I had confidence that he would come but I'm relieved it's finally over.  I now want to work with him towards winning a championship.  With his defense and his shoulder, I want him to lead the youngsters and held them develop.  And I'm really looking forward to seeing hit for average and for power.

=== UPDATE 10/27/2009 11:17pm JST

Tatsunori Hara (Giants manager) on Johjima returning...

I think it's good news that he's returning to Japan.

=== UPDATE 10/27/2009 11:58pm JST

Johjima signed a 4-year deal worth 2B yen plus bonuses (US$21.7M).  The team also assigned him the number 2.